Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 21, 2014

* Mexico: Tens of thousands protested in Mexico and abroad on Thursday in support of forty-three students missing for nearly two months and possibly massacred by drug gang hitmen.

* U.S.: Despite receiving nine Latin Grammy nominations, Calle 13 failed to win an award as they were upset by Enrique Iglesias for best urban song and the late Paco de Lucia for album of the year.

* Colombia: Preparations are underway for the liberation of five people recently kidnapped by the FARC including a Colombian army general.

* Nicaragua: Officials claimed that construction of a $50 billion interoceanic canal will begin in December and rejected concerns over possible environmental damage.

Video Source – YouTube user Newsy World

Online Sources – Latin American Herald Tribune; ABC News; Reuters; CBC

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 20, 2014

* Chile: A Chilean court ruled that the state should pay around $7.5 million to the families of thirty ex-political prisoners incarcerated on a remote island during the military rule of Augusto Pinochet.

* Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro decreed twenty-eight laws this week including ones that would raise taxes on luxury items and increase international reserves.

* Mexico: President Enrique Peña Nieto will reportedly release details of his personal wealth following the controversy over first lady Angelica Rivera’s ownership of a $7 million mansion.

* Colombia: An agreement was reportedly reached for the liberation of a Colombian army general and four others captured by the FARC, and whose kidnapping led to the suspension of peace talks between the government and the rebels.

Video Source – YouTube user comunaburguesa (Footage circa 1973 of detainees at the prison on Chile’s Dawson Island, which was located near the southernmost tip of South America).

Online Sources – BBC News; Bloomberg; ABC News; The Guardian

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 19, 2014

* Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro announced plans to arrange a meeting with countries excluded from the OPEC cartel in order to discuss the plummeting prices of oil.

* Brazil: Eike Batista, the man once named as Brazil’s wealthiest person but is allegedly $1 billion in debt, went on trial over charges of insider trading. 

* Mexico: Mexican first lady Angelica Rivera said that she would sell her shares in a $7 million mansion built by a construction firm that received government contracts under President Enrique Peña Nieto.

* Honduras: Police discovered the bodies of the reigning Miss Honduras, Maria Jose Alvarado, and her sister who had been missing for approximately one week.

Video Source – CCTV America via YouTube

Online Sources – BBC News; The Guardian; Bloomberg; ABC News

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 18, 2014

* Peru: A new report published two weeks before Peru hosts a U. N. climate conference found that the country is the world’s fourth most dangerous state for environmental activists.

* Brazil: Approximately 400,000 signatures have been gathered on a public petition to prevent a controversial pick-up artist from speaking in Brazil.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA agreed to sell 1.6 million tons of oil and nine tons of petroleum derivates to Russia over the next five years.

* U.S.: The U.S. Border Patrol has allegedly conducted at least ten thousand drone flights along roughly nine hundred miles of the border region near Mexico. 

Video Source – Pulitzer Center via YouTube (Video uploaded in 2012),

Online Sources – BBC News; The Guardian; Latin American Herald Tribune; The Huffington Post

Monday, November 17, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 17, 2014

Note: Before we list some of the main stories from the Americas, we would like to apologize for not publishing this post earlier in the day. Unfortunately we were affected by technical difficulties.  Thank you for your kind attention.

* Colombia: The Colombian government suspended peace talks with the FARC after President Juan Manuel Santos blamed the rebels for kidnapping an army general.

* Mexico: The disappearance and possible massacre of forty-three university students is reportedly hurting tourism in the state of Guerrero.

* Brazil: The head of Petrobras claimed that the company would full investigate with the latest corruption scandal to rock the Brazilian state-run oil giant.

* Haiti: A one report found that Haiti is the country with the world's third-highest proportion of slaves compared to their population.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – BBC News; The Latin Americanist; Christian Science Monitor; NPR; Reuters

Friday, November 14, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 14, 2014

* Latin America: A new Pew Research Center report found that most Latin Americans identify themselves as Catholic though their proportion has dropped by 25% since 1970.

* Venezuela: A Venezuelan judge refused to free opposition figure Leopoldo López who has been in jail and awaiting trial since giving himself in to authorities last February.

* Brazil: The real fell to weakest level since April 2005 reportedly due to investor worry over who will be appointed as Brazil’s next Finance Minister.

* Mexico: The Supreme Court ruled that three people convicted over the 1997 Acteal massacre should be immediately released due to violations of their rights to due process.

Video Source – Pew Research Center via YouTube

Online Sources – ABC News; The Guardian; Latin American Herald Tribune; Bloomberg

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 13, 2014

* Brazil: A new report from the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety accused the police of killing on average about six people each day over the past five years.

* U.S.: Family members of some of the 265 victims of the Flight 587 crash commemorated yesterday the thirteenth anniversary of the accident that occurred as the plane was en route to the Dominican Republic.

* Panama: Researchers believe that more than two million migrating raptors including hawks, eagles and falcons flew above Panama City this past Sunday.

* Venezuela: The start of the trial against Maria Lourdes Afiuni, a Venezuelan judge seen by the opposition as “among the country's highest-profile political prisoners,” continues to be delayed.

Video Source – InSight Crime via YouTube

Online Sources – UPI; NY1; BBC News; ABC News

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 12, 2014

* Colombia: According to a new poll two in every three Colombians back the peace process between the government and the FARC despite the uproar over a deadly rebel attack on an indigenous community last week.

* Peru: The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the recent murder of a Peruvian journalist reportedly investigating on violence caused by local gangs.

* Venezuela: A music lecturer at a British university accused Venezuela’s famed El Sistema youth music program of being “a cult, a mafia and a corporation.”

* Argentina: More than seventy banks, currency exchange locales and other financial institutions were raided as part of a tax fraud investigation.

Video Source – CCTV America via YouTube

Online Sources – teleSUR English; Al Jazeera English; BBC News; The Guardian; The Committee to Protect Journalists

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mexico: Social Media Outrage Over Offensive Missing Student Tweets

Social media has been beneficial for businesses looking to promote their brand, increase sales and gain an advantage above their competitors.  But it can also be a double-edged sword for companies that either inadvertently or purposefully post controversial messages in the aftermath of tragedies. This is a lesson that at least two Mexican companies faced after publishing a tweet alluding to the possible massacre forty-three students.

As seen above, the original message posted Sunday just after midnight on the twitter account for Mexico’s Nestlé Crunch roughly translates to “We Crunched the ones from Ayotzinapa.” The offending tweet was removed approximately two-and-a-half hours later and Nestlé apologized in four subsequent tweets.

“We regret for the recently published content and offer our deepest apologies. We are united with the families (of the disappeared)…and extend our apology to all of the brands affected by this bad joke,” read some of the content tweeted by Nestlé. Yet another message alleged that the Twitter account was hacked and that Nestlé was going to take all measures to prevent future infiltration.  This excuse did not sit well with some netizens who voiced their anger at the candy company.

“Hahahaha ‘we were hacked’ hahaha,” “You finally got what you wanted … to make some noise” and “I will never again buy your product…and I hope you fire the idiot (behind the tweet)” were just some of the messages left behind by indignant social media users to the Mexican Nestlé Crunch twitter account.

Mario Vera, vice president for communications of Nestlé in Mexico, later told the press that the company would investigate if the “offensive message” came from someone within Nestlé or via a hacker.

Meanwhile, a Mexico City pizzeria belonging to the 50 friends chain of eateries also came under fire following an insulting tweet regarding the missing and reportedly murdered students.

Daily Headlines: November 11, 2014

* U.S.: Cuban-born slugger José Abreu was unanimously selected as the American League Rookie of the Year following a stellar season where he batted .317 with 36 home runs and 107 RBI.

* Peru: Production in Peru’s vital copper industry has been affected by an indefinite strike that started yesterday at the country’s Antamina mine.

* Colombia: An ex-drug smuggling pilot testified in court that former capo Pablo Escobar allegedly framed a British businessman imprisoned since 1986 on murder charges.

* Brazil: FIFA will create a $100 million development fund for Brazil months after the soccer’s global governing body earned more than $4 billion in sales from the World Cup.

Video Source – MLB via YouTube

Online Sources – USA TODAY; Reuters; The Guardian; Bloomberg

Monday, November 10, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 10, 2014

* Guatemala: President Otto Perez formally apologized to thirty-three indigenous communities whose residents were forcefully displaced and killed in the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam.

* Brazil: The Brazilian army will start today a drill in the Amazon rainforest reportedly in order to train against any foreign military threat.

* Chile: Inflation in Chile skyrocketed by 1.0% percent from September to October and caused the annual inflation rate to hit its highest point in nearly six years.

* Uruguay: A new study found that Uruguay is Latin America’s most prosperous country and placed ahead of Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

Video Source – YouTube user rightsaction

Online Sources – U-T San Diego; The New York Times; Reuters; MercoPress

Friday, November 7, 2014

Missing Mexican Students Murdered Says Attorney General

Forty-three Mexican students missing for forty-one days were reportedly murdered according to Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam.

At a press conference on Friday, Karam presented videos of two suspects who confessed to allegedly carrying out the killings of the students. They claimed that the students from Ayotzinapa were taken in large trucks to a dump in nearby village of Cocula where some of them where shot dead while others died from bags placed over their heads. The corpses were then thrown into the dump and burned for six to fifteen hours before being disposed into a river.

"The confessions we have gathered ... very sadly point to the murder of a large number of people," said Karam.

Despite the confessions, Karam kept open the investigation while forensics tests are conducted to properly identify the remains.

On September 26th, several dozen students were riding local buses back to their school following a protest over job discrimination in Iguala.  That evening, armed men from the town of Iguala fired upon the buses and killed three passengers while others fled in terror.  Eyewitnesses claimed that local police shot at some of the escaping students while others were caught and bundled into police vehicles.

Daily Headlines: November 7, 2014

* Mexico: Construction of a $4.3 billion high-speed rail line will be up for bids again three days after Mexican authorities awarded the contractor the project to a Chinese-led consortium.

* Brazil: Recently reelected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promised to fight inflation with fiscal measures and make cuts to public spending.

* U.S.: According to the U.S. Labor Department the Latino unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in October, which marks the first time in over six years that the rate is below 7% for two consecutive months.

* Venezuela: One hundred nineteen Palestinian students arrived in Caracas on Thursday where they will study medicine with grants from the Venezuelan government.

Video Source – CCTV News via YouTube (Video uploaded on November 4th, three days prior to the Mexican government’s decision to put the contract back up for bids).

Online Sources – Bloomberg; Fox News Latino; Latin American Herald Tribune; The Latin Americanist; Xinhua

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 6, 2014

* Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic withdrew as a member of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights weeks after the tribunal criticized a 2013 decision that stripped the citizenship of many Dominicans of Haitian background.
* U.S.: Exit polls indicated that there was a small increase in Latino voters participating in Tuesday’s midterm elections compared to 2010 while the number of Latinos in Congress rose from 28 to 29.

* Mexico: An estimated 65,000 university students participated yesterday in the first day of a three-day strike to protest the government’s actions in failing to locate 43 missing students.

* Brazil: Authorities in Brazil are investigating whether a Belem police officer went on a six-hour killing spree to avenge the death of a colleague.

Video Source – teleSUR English via YouTube (Video uploaded in October 2013).

Online Sources – ABC News; The Latin Americanist; Fox News Latino; GlobalPost; BBC News

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 5, 2014

* U.S.: The Election Protection Coalition reported receiving at least 14,000 phone complaints of problems during yesterday’s midterm elections including “reports of poll workers treating Latino voters rudely or failing to help” in Kentucky.

* Colombia: The head of the European Council announced that the E.U. will back the Colombian government’s peace talks with the FARC rebels.

* Mexico: The Mexican National Human Rights Commission will investigate the recent deaths of four people including three U.S. citizens and that may have been involved the Matamoros police.

* Venezuela: Operations at Venezuela’s largest oil refinery were suspended on Tuesday due to a blackout.

Video Source – AFP via YouTube

Online Sources – U-T San Diego; Reuters; teleSUR English; Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Daily Headlines: November 4, 2014

* Mexico: Police apprehended the fugitive former mayor of Iguala and his wife who are believed to have ordered the disappearances of 43 students missing since September 26th.

* Bolivia: Ombudsman Rolando Villena expressed his worry over an apparent increase in violence against women in Bolivia including the recent rape and murder of a four-year-old girl.

* Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro announced that the Venezuelan minimum wage will be increased by 15% in a move that comes a week after he boosted military salaries by 45%.

* Cuba: Cuban officials presented a list of 246 projects that will require some $8.7 billion in foreign investment to the island.

Video Source – PBS NewsHour via YouTube

Online Sources – BBC News; NBC News; The Latin Americanist; NPR; Fox News Latino